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Biomedicine in museums

Anatomical models in scientific and cultural context

The Museum Boerhaave in Leiden is organising a conference on ‘Lessons in anatomy made easy: Anatomical models in scientific and cultural context’, 6-7 November 2008.

Anatomical models nowadays are made of plastic and so common that simple ones are sold in the department stores everywhere. The origins of these models are to be seen in the permanent exhibitions of many science museums. […] Museum Boerhaave invites historians of science, art historians and conservators with an interest in anatomical models, whether made from wax, plaster, papier-mâché or glass, to attend this conference.

The immediate occasion for the meeting is that the Museum Boerhaave has completed the restoration of their collection of papier-mâché anatomical models made by Louis Thomas Jerôme Auzoux, allegedly one of the largest of its kind in the world.

The invitation speaks mainly about comparisons with other early kinds of anatomical models, like wax models. But I guess they would also welcome papers on more contemporary kinds of commercial anatomical models for comparative purposes. For further info, see

(right: a 24 inch long Auzoux papier-maché model of the tongue, throat, larynx and windpipe: from Alex Peck Medical Antiques website

(via Simon Chaplin, MUSHM-link) 

Thomas Söderqvist

Author Thomas Söderqvist

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